Extra Time: Friendly Week Links, No Tim Howard Tonight, But Plenty to Talk About

Extra Time: Friendly Week Links, No Tim Howard Tonight, But Plenty to Talk About

The Union are set to take on Everton of the English Premier League later tonight at PPL Park, followed by Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. That's quite a week of meaningless footie right there, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Here's a quick compilation of Union extras that are floating around this week.

First, Tim Howard won't be roving the cage for Everton tonight. His surprise absence isn't sitting well with the Union, who had some barbed words about the way Everton managed the situation. I'm fairly disappointed, as Howard's one of my favorite players to watch, and I was looking forward to sitting very close behind him for a half and watching him shout out assignments for 45 minutes. Didn't Stu Holden tell him that even Wolverine hangs out at PPL Park? [CSNPhilly]

A picture of Tim Howard with a doppelganger was floating around twitter the other night (even made Deadspin), and The Brotherly Game linked that chance meeting in an airport to Howard's Facebook page under a post that's titled, "A funny thing happened on my way to Philly…" Only… he's not playing in Philly? [The Brotherly Game]

Also check out the full story of the man who met Tim Howard in an airport bar while telling his friends how much he looks like Tim Howard. He got to watch the Women's World Cup Final with Timmy, but it came with a price… [620 WTMJ]

Here's a look at the Union's preview of those Everton players who will be in Chester tonight. [Union]

And, interestingly, Everton's guide to the Union. Very respectful of the U. [Everton]

The crew over at FootyHip have some photos and a report from yesterday's Everton training session at PPL Park [FootyHip]

Will Faryd Mondragon be patrolling the other end of the pitch? CSNPhilly contributor Ryan Bright wondered speculated as to whether he might get a night off with three games in six days and Real Madrid looming, but the absence of Howard and a packed house may have the Union thinking they have to pull out all the stops. Faryd had kind of an easy night in New England anyway. [RBrightUnion]

Speaking of Mondragon, he was the lone member of the first place Union to be selected to the MLS All-Star Game, officially giving us another professional sports league about which to gripe about snubs. Soccer By Ives named its All-Snub Team yesterday, and two Unioners were on it—defenders Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes. [Soccer By Ives]

Here's an interview with snubbee Sheanon Williams, who is having one hell of a breakout season. [Soccer Banter]

When Real Madrid come to Philly this weekend, will they be bringing their ladies? It seems they can be quite distracting. Everything about this video, including the update posted at the end, is amusing. [Dirty Tackle]

For a great look back at the Union's win over New England this past weekend, check out Philly Soccer Page's player match ratings and analysis. Also check out Ed Farnsworth's look at the Union's season by the numbers, with particular focus on their three road wins. [Philly Soccer Page]

Feels like forever since the last home game. Can't wait to get down to PPL tonight...

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Could the Eagles be interested in signing another top free agent running back named Murray?

No, not that guy. 

Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders running back Latavius Murray.

Murray posted a picture on Instagram of the soon-to-be free agent working out with Carson Wentz with the caption "im just here to help."

"im just here to help"

A post shared by Latavius Murray (@lataviusmurray) on

It's no surprise the Eagles can stand to upgrade their running back corps this offseason — as several mock drafts have suggested. Could Murray be the answer?